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Treaty between the United Kingdom and France for the Mutual Surrender of Fugitive Criminals [1878] CATSer 1 (31 May 1878)



HER Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the President of the French Re­public, having recognized the insufficiency of the provisions of the Treaty concluded on the 13th of February, 1843,* between Great Britain and France for the reciprocal ex­tradition of criminals, have resolved, by common accord to replace it by another and more complete Treaty, and have named as their respective Plenipotentiaries for this pur­pose, that is to say:

Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Right Honourable Richard Bickerton Pemell, Lord Lyons, a Peer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Hon­ourable Order of the Bath, one of Her Britannic Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and Her said Majesty’s Ambas­sador Extraordinary and Pleni­potentiary to the Government of the French Republic, &c.;

And the President of the French Republic, M. le Duc Decazes, Member of the Chamber of Deputies, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Grand Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, &c.;

Who, after having communi­cated to each other their re­spective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles:-


The High Contracting Parties engage to deliver up to each other those persons who are being proceeded against or who have been convicted of a crime committed in the territory of the one Party, and who shall be found within the territory of the other Party, under the circumstances and conditions stated in the present Treaty.


Native-born or naturalized subjects of either country are excepted from extradition. In the case, however, of a person who, since the commission of the crime or offence of which he is accused, or for which he has been convicted, has become naturalized in the country whence the surrender is sought, such naturalization shall not prevent the pursuit, arrest, and extradition of such person, in conformity with the stipulations of the present Treaty.


The crimes for which the extradition is to be granted are the following:

1. Counterfeiting or altering money, and uttering counterfeit or altered money.

2. Forgery, counterfeiting or altering and uttering what is forged, counterfeited, or altered.

3. Murder (including assas­sination, infanticide, and poi­soning), or attempting to mur­der.

4. Manslaughter.

5. Abortion.

6. Rape.

7. Indecent assault, acts of indecency even without vio­lence upon the person of a girl under 12 years of age.

8. Child-stealing, including abandoning, exposing, or un­lawfully detaining.

9. Abduction.

10. Kidnapping and false imprisonment.

11. Bigamy.

12. Wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm.

13. Assaulting a magistrate, or peace or public officer.

14. Threats, by letter or otherwise, with intent to ex­tort.

15. Perjury or subornation of perjury.

16. Arson.

17. Burglary or house-­breaking, robbery with vio­lence.

18. Fraud by bailee, banker, agent, factor, trustee, or di­rector, or member, or public officer of any company made criminal by any Act for the time being in force.

19. Obtaining money, valu­able security, or goods, by false pretences, including re­ceiving any chattel, money, valuable security, or other property knowing the same that have been unlawfully obtained.

20. Embezzlement or lar­ceny, including receiving any chattel, money, valuable se­curity, or other property, knowing the same to have been embezzled or stolen.

21. Crimes against Bank­ruptcy law.

22. Any malicious act done with intent to endanger persons in a railway train.

23. Malicious injury to pro­perty, if the offence is indict­able.

24. Crimes committed at sea:-

(a) Any act of depredation or violence by the crew of a British or French vessel, against another British or French vessel, or by the crew of a foreign vessel not pro­vided with a regular commis­sion, against British or French vessels, their crews or their cargoes.

(b) The fact by any person, being or not one of the crew of a vessel, of giving her over to pirates.

(c) The fact by any person, being or not one of the crew of a vessel, of taking possession of such vessel by fraud or violence.

(d) Sinking or destroying a vessel at sea, or attempting or conspiring to do so.

(e) Revolt or conspiracy to revolt by two or more persons on board a ship on the high seas against the authority of the master.

25. Dealing in slaves in such manner as to constitute an offence against the laws of both countries.

The extradition is also to take place for participation, either as principals or acces­sories, in any of the aforesaid crimes, provided such partici­pation be punishable by the laws of both the Contracting Parties.


The present Treaty shall apply to crimes and offences committed prior to the signature of the Treaty; but a person surrendered shall not be tried for any crime or of­fence committed in the other country before the extradition, other than the crime for which his surrender has been granted.


No accused or convicted person shall be surrendered, if the offence in respect of which his surrender is demanded shall be deemed by the party upon which it is made to be a Political offence, or to be an act connected with (connexe à) such an offence, or if he prove to the satisfaction of the police magistrate or of the court be­fore which he is brought on habeas corpus, or of the Secretary of State, that the requisition for his surrender has, in fact, been made with a view to try or to punish him for an offence of a political character.


On the part of the French Government, the ex­tradition shall take place in the following manner in France:-

The Ambassador or other Diplomatic Agent of Her Bri­tannic Majesty in France shall send to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in support of each de­mand for extradition, an au­thenticated and duly legalized copy either of a certificate of conviction, or of a warrant of arrest against a person accused, clearly setting forth the nature of the crime or offence on ac­count of which the fugitive is being proceeded against. The judicial document thus pro­duced shall be accompanied by a description of the person claimed, and by any other information which may serve to identify him.

These documents shall be communicated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice, who, after examin­ing the claim for surrender, and the documents in support thereof; shall report thereon immediately to the President of the Republic; and, if there is reason for it, a Decree of the President will grant the extradition of the person claimed, and will order him to be arrested and delivered to the British authorities.

In consequence of this Decree the Minister of the Interior shall give orders that search be made for the fugitive crimi­nal, and in case of his arrest, that he be conducted to the French frontier, to be delivered to the person authorised by Her Britannic Majesty’s Go­vernment to receive him.

Should it so happen that the documents furnished by the British Government, with the view of establishing the iden­tity of the fugitive criminal, and that the particulars col­lected by the agents of the French police with the same view, be considered insufficient, notice shall be immediately given to the Ambassador or other Diplomatic Agent of Her Britannic Majesty in France, and the fugitive person, if he has been arrested, shall remain in custody until the British Government has been able to furnish further evidence in order to establish his identity or to throw light on other diffi­culties in the examination.


In the dominions of Her Britannic Majesty, other than the colonies or foreign possessions of Her Majesty, the manner of proceeding shall be as follows:-

(A.) In the case of a person accused:- the requisition for the surrender shall be made to Her Britannic Majesty’s Prin­cipal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by the Ambas­sador or other Diplomatic Agent of the President of the French Republic, accompanied by a warrant of arrest or other equivalent judicial document, issued by a judge or magis­trate duly authorised to take cognizance of the acts charged against the accused in France, together with duly authenti­cated depositions or state­ments taken on oath before such Judge or Magistrate, clearly setting forth the said acts, and containing a description of the person claimed, and any particulars which may serve to identify him. The said Secretary of State shall transmit such documents to Her Britannic Majesty’s Prin­cipal Secretary of State for the Home Department, who shall then, by order under his hand and seal, signify to some police magistrate in London that such requisition has been made, and require him, if there be due cause, to issue his warrant for the apprehension of the fugitive.

On the receipt of such order from the Secretary of State, and on the production of such evidence as would, in the opinion of the Magistrate, justify the issue of the war­rant if the crime had been committed in the United King­dom, he shall issue his warrant accordingly.

When the fugitive shall have been apprehended, he shall be brought before the Police Magistrate who issued the warrant, or some other Police Magistrate in London. If the evidence to be then produced shall be such as to justify, according to the law of Eng­land, the committal for trial of the prisoner, if the crime of which he is accused had been committed in England, the Police Magistrate shall commit him to prison to await the warrant of the Secretary of State for his surrender; send­ing immediately to the Secre­tary of State a certificate of the committal and a report upon the case.

After the expiration of a period from the committal of the prisoner, which shall never be less than 15 days, the Se­cretary of State shall, by order under his hand and seal, order the fugitive criminal to be sur­rendered to such person as may be duly authorised to receive him on the part of the Pre­sident of the French Republic.

(B.) In the case of a person convicted:- The course of pro­ceeding shall be the same as in the case of a person accused, except that the warrant to be transmitted by the Ambassador or other Diplomatic Agent in support of his requisition shall clearly set forth the crime of which the person claimed has been convicted, and state the fact, place, and date of his conviction. The evidence to be produced before the Police Magistrate shall be such as would, according to the law of England, prove that the pri­soner was convicted of the crime charged.

(C.) Persons convicted by judgment in default or arrêt de contumace, shall be in the matter of extradition con­sidered as persons accused, and, as such, be surrendered.

(D.) After the Police Magis­trate shall have committed the accused or convicted person to prison to await the order of a Secretary of State for his sur­render, such person shall have the right to apply for a writ of habeas corpus; if he should so apply, his surrender must be deferred until after the deci­sion of the Court upon the return to the writ, and even then can only take place if the decision is adverse to the ap­plicant. In the latter case the Court may at once order his delivery to the person autho­rised to receive him, without the order of a Secretary of State for his surrender, or com­mit him to prison to await such order.


Warrants, depositions, or statements on oath, issued or taken in the dominions of either of the two High Con­tracting Parties, and copies thereof, and certificates of or judicial documents stating the facts of conviction, shall be re­ceived in evidence in proceedings in the dominions of the other, if purporting to be signed or certified by a Judge, Magistrate, or officer of the country where they were issued or taken, provided such warrants, depositions, state­ments, copies, certificates, and judicial documents are authen­ticated by the oath of some witness, or by being sealed with the official seal of the Minister of Justice, or some other Minister of State.


A fugitive criminal may be apprehended under a war­rant issued by any Police Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, or other competent au­thority in either country, on such information or complaint, and such evidence, or after such proceedings as would, in the opinion of the person issuing the warrant, justify the issue of a warrant, if the crime had been committed or the prisoner convicted in that part of the dominions of the two Contracting Parties in which the Magistrate exercises juris­diction: provided, however, that in the United Kingdom the accused shall in such case be sent as speedily as possible before a police magistrate in London. He shall be dis­charged, as well in the United Kingdom as in France, if within 14 days a requisition shall not have been made for his sur­render by the Diplomatic Agent of his country in the manner directed by Articles II and IV of this Treaty.

The same rule shall apply to the cases of persons accused or convicted of any of the crimes specified in this Treaty committed on the high seas on board any vessel of either country which may come into a port of the other.


If the fugitive criminal who has been committed to prison be not surrendered and conveyed away within two months after such committal, or within two months after the decision of the Court upon the return to a writ of habeas corpus in the United Kingdom, he shall be discharged from custody unless sufficient cause be shown to the contrary.


The claim for extradition shall not be complied with if the individual claimed has been already tried for the same offence in the country whence the extradition is demanded, or if, since the commission of the acts charged, the accusa­tion or the conviction, exemp­tion from prosecution or punishment has been acquired by lapse of time, according to the laws of that country.


If the individual claimed by one of the two High Contracting Parties in pursuance of the present Treaty should be also claimed by one or several other Powers, on ac­count of other crimes com­mitted upon their respective territories, his surrender shall be granted to that State whose demand is earliest in date; unless any other arrangement should be made between the Governments which have claimed him, either on account of the gravity of the crimes committed, or for any other reasons.


If the individual claimed should be under pro­secution, or condemned for a crime or offence committed in the country where he may have taken refuge, his surren­der may be deferred until he shall have been set at liberty in due course of law.

In case he should be pro­ceeded against or detained in such country, on account of obligations contracted towards private individuals, his surren­der shall nevertheless take place.


Every article found in the possession of the individual claimed at the time of his arrest, shall, if the competent authority so decide, be seized, in order to be delivered up with his person at the time when the surrender shall be made. Such delivery shall not be limited to the property or articles obtained by stealing or by fraudulent bankruptcy, but shall extend to everything that may serve as proof of the crime, and shall take place even when the surrender, after having been ordered, shall be pre­vented from taking place by reason of the escape or death of the individual claimed.

The rights of third parties with regard to the said pro­perty or articles are neverthe­less reserved.


Each of the High Con­tracting Parties shall defray the expenses occasioned by the arrest within its territories, the detention, and the convey­ance to its frontier, of the persons whom it may have consented to surrender in pur­suance of the present Treaty.


In the colonies and foreign possessions of the two High Contracting Parties the manner of proceeding shall be as follows:-

The requisition for the sur­render of a fugitive criminal who has taken refuge in a Colony or foreign Possession of either party shall be made to the Governor or chief authority of such Colony or Posses­sion by the chief Consular officer of the other in such colony or possession; or, if the fugitive has escaped from a Colony or foreign Possession of the Party on whose behalf the requisition is made, by the Governor or chief authority of such colony or possession.

Such requisitions may be disposed of, subject always, as nearly as may be, to the provi­sions of this Treaty, by the respective Governors or chief authorities, who, however, shall be at liberty either to grant the surrender or to refer the matter to their Government.

The foregoing stipulations shall not in any way affect the arrangements established in the East Indian Possessions of the two countries by Article IX of the Treaty of the 7th March, 1815.


The present Treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifi­cations shall be exchanged at Paris as soon as possible. It shall come into operation ten days after its publication, in conformity with the laws of the respective countries. Either Party may at any time terminate the Treaty on giving to the other 6 months’ notice of its intention.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the re­spective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same, and have affixed thereto the seals of their arms.

DONE at Paris, this 14th day of August, 1876.



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